Nakikia Walton

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About Me
Nakikia A. Walton aka "MSKeepItMoving" is a native of Kinston, North Carolina now living in Durham with her husband Michael and their 3 children. After graduating from Kinston High School in 1994, she... Read More


 

Nakikia Walton


https://www.blackvibes.com/mskeepitmoving
 

My Blog


   

Emotional vs Physical: Which is Important To You?

Greetings to all,

Many of you have learned I'm no stranger to psychological therapy. I actually look forward to my weekly sessions. Ha, in fact I have one today. Whoop whoop! I've gotten a few sessions under my belt with her now. So far so good as you've probably gathered from my excitement. She's really given me much to think about. She's asked such tough questions that I've literally had to dig down deep for honest answers.

Last week we discussed emotional and physical connections and the roles each one has in relationships. It doesn't matter what type of relationship you're in, each one, the emotional and the physical shape how we feel and how we respond to others. However, for the purpose of this article, I will be referring to dating and or marriage. Just wanted to clear that up.

While discussing the characteristics of each of these connections, I discovered something so much more important than just the mere characteristics themselves. But let's first look at some of these emotional and physical characteristics. Now for the sake of trying to be "realistic" as possible and FAIR, I will began with the physical characteristics first. I mean come on, you SEE FIRST the physical right?

Someone who's physically attracted to you will take you out on some dates. You know, catch a few movies or go to dinner or have a few drinks. Hell, they'll even give up some cookies or lay down some pipe. LOL Hey I'm jussst saying. Seriously, when someone is physically attracted to another person they tend to touch or rub their arms or hands. Flirtatiously hug or make constant eye contact with them. They talk long enough to exchange numbers, emails, pager numbers (Yes I know. Ancient technology.) or agree to a place to hang out. However, there are no obvious emotional connections being invested. Just physical admiration.

The emotional connections develop as time progresses and relationships have become established. It's in my opinion, indicative of a growing healthy relationship. People who are connected EMOTIONALLY share time together because they DESIRE to be in each other's company. They pay special attention to each other often developing bonds and engaging in deep conversations. When someone has invested emotions they share intimate desires, wants and needs. There is the sharing of fears, adorations or goals, likes and dislikes, hobbies and other activities.

I am fully aware that the emotional and physical characteristics described in this article aren't anything new. Hell they are probably the very basic descriptions ever written. Nonetheless, I believe it is important to understand the difference when going into relationships, continuing a relationship or even reconciling one. I have to say, I've been guilty of being naive and not understanding the difference between emotional and physical connections. Yep I once believed that just because someone was physically attracted to me they also liked or loved me. I associated physical or sexual touch with love. Ooohhhh boooyy I was sooooooo innocent. Ok I was ignorant. But hey, now I know and can articulate and clearly understand the differences. Although the two connections are somewhat parallel, honey there's still a very clear contrast between physical and emotional connections.

Here's a scenario. Man sees a woman. Woman sees a man. Man is aroused by the woman's curves and apple bottom jeans. (Wait. Are those still in style?) Anyway, Woman bats her eyes at the man. Man asks woman out. Woman agrees. Woman likes the man. Man gets the cookies. Woman wants to see man again. Man becomes distant and conveniently unavailable. Now woman is disappointed. Well damn, I wonder how this happened? Ok, I'm lying. I know exactly what happened and it's happened to a lot of us because we were ignorant.

See women and men have different perceptions most times, especially when it comes to relationships. More times than not, women quickly become emotional connected to a man after they've given each other the business because women are more emotional and nurturing. It's just how God made us. Men on the other hand aren't quite like this. They're more physically and less emotionally driven. So unless he has invested emotional connections with you, he's going to keep it moving to the next big ass and smile. You gave him the only thing he wanted, physical satisfaction. Let me take it up a notch, because this scenario regarding emotional and physical connections is just an example of people who are "dating" or in unmarried but "committed" relationships.

Here's the scenario. Man sees a woman. Woman sees a man. Man is aroused by the woman's curves and apple bottom jeans. (Again. Are these still in style?) So woman bats her eyes at the man. Man asks woman out. Woman agrees. Woman likes the man. Man likes woman. Man and woman bump uglies. OOOHHH man and woman enjoy the ugly bumping. Man and woman date and ugly bump for a few years and fall in love. Man and woman have each introduced the other to family and friends. They are proud to be together and the ugliness of the bump intensifies. Man and woman have fun together and have some of the same hobbies. Man and woman can't see life without the other. Man proposes to woman. Woman happily accepts, jumping up and down like a kid at Christmas. Man is overwhelmed with the excitement he's receives from the woman and the future he'll share with her breaking beds down and cracking headboards. Man and woman become husband and wife.

Lolololololol Ok, I digress. Do notice the emotional and physical characteristics in the last scenario? Did those characteristics change? Recall in the beginning of this article I wrote that characteristics involving emotional and physical connections apply to any type of relationship? Well, that would indeed include marital relationships also. What did happen is both connections intensified. However, only one can affect the other in such a way that it becomes utterly unclear which connection is which.

See it dawned on me last week as I sat in my therapy session, you can have a physical attraction to someone without the emotional connection. But it will only ever be physical and have NO VALUE or SUBSTANCE. On the other hand, when you're emotionally in tangled with another there a sense of pride when you're in their presences. You miss each other when you're apart and excited to see each other when you come back together even after a long hard day at work. When you're in the presence of others they are able to witness the admiration and love you have together. You still "date" each other and spend quality time.

Conversations are longer than 2 minutes chatting about logistical shit at home, about kids or what bills are due on the next pay cycle because even through all the chaos there's still your love and desire for each other. You both always express how much love there is for the relationship thus going out of the way to make each other happy and secure. You feed each other's egos, privately and publicly. When emotions are intertwined with the physical the VALUE and the SUBSTANCE of that physical connection increases exponentially. So much so, they become one in the same. Both connections become so intense you just cannot determine which is which.

I believe people in relationships whether married or just dating, dismiss the VALUE and the SUBSTANCE of emotionally and physically connecting. When people marry, there's the assumption that both people connected emotionally to make such a decision to become married in the first place. It's the expectation for emotional connections in a marriage be the main ingredient that provides the value thus giving the substance to the physical connections. When the emotional aspect of the marriage has gone, the physical worth diminishes. Then what? Yep, you guessed it. The marriage or any relationship crumbles.

So I ask again. Which is more important to you? Which do you prefer to be the main ingredient in your relationship or marriage? Remember there's no substance without value.

Until next time...No Matter What, KEEP IT MOVING!

~MSKeepItMoving


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Renewing The Mind Change Your Life

   

Renewing The Mind Change Your Life

Listen, every day the mind is influenced by our environments, our social and family circles and our cultural dynamics. Theses influences whether positive or negative affect the way we think, feel and act. They affect our emotions and feelings about many aspects of our lives. They affect the way we perceive other people, the decisions we make or DON'T make for our own lives, the way we raise our children, relationships, so on and so forth. Many of our thoughts as a result of these influences can take root in our mind. Although we can't necessarily prevent these thoughts from happening, we can decide the thoughts that are allowed. Meaning it is our own decision as to the kind of thoughts we will allow to be intertwined in our cerebral vortex. There is an old saying, "Thoughts will come and thoughts will go, but thoughts that are not put into word or action will die-unborn."You can't always choose what you see in hear most times, but you can choose what you continue to reflect on as a result of what you see or hear. So what are you going to allow to remain stuck in your thoughts? What are you going to allow to influence the way you think, the way you act, how you feel? Who is the owner of your mind? You or the environments you're apart of? Your social circles? The media? Facebook? It is important to understand that whatever we fill our minds with eventually manifests in our lives. It's been said, "Show me your mind and I'll show you you're future." Filling your mind with negative thoughts like fear and the beliefs that you are unable to accomplish goals or achieve dreams, will only prevent the promises God. There are several tools that can help anyone change their mindset in order to live a more abundant life of substance. They are simply the components of your own mind that are utilized daily to process thoughts, feelings and emotions, but you have determine how you're going to use these same tools to renew the way you currently allow your thoughts to be processed as a result of outside influences. Components of Your Mind are 1. The Intellect (The mind's "library") -The intellect has the capacity to gain knowledge and use it in thought. It has the ability to learn and associate. 2. Imagination (The mind's "eye") -The imagination has the capacity to create possibilities and form new ideas with the mind, and to envision them internally. It has the ability to create pictures in the mind.3. Memory (The mind's "flash drive") -The memory has the capacity to recall information, experiences, events, feelings, and thoughts experienced by the mind. It has the ability to remember.4. Emotion (The mind's "voice") -The emotions have the capacity to experience inner passions in association with particular events, memories, experiences, or thoughts. It has the ability to feel. Emotions are the voice of our thoughts. Emotion "tells" us what and how we are thinking. Emotion may also arise in response to physical events occurring in the body-hormonal changes, illness, or various stressors.5. Reason/Will (The mind's "judge") -the will has the capacity to consider information, make judgments between conflicting options, viewpoints, or courses of direction, and initiate action by the mind or body. It has the ability to choose.So what does all of this mean? There is a saying, "You are what you eat." If you eat consistently in a way that is unhealthy, then you become unhealthy right? You gain weight, become sluggish, physical illnesses manifest or worse case death can occur. The same applies to the way we think, therefore, You Are What You Think! As we change the way we think, we will change the way we behave. What we allow in our daily thoughts will become who we are. Think about this. Who we are right now is a direct reflection of our habitual thoughts regarding our life experiences, environmental factors, social circles and cultural values. As time progresses, the thoughts we dwell on become imbedded in our subconsciousness. We become what we think thus attracting those same qualities from others. If there're certain situations or characteristics of your life that you don't quite like it is up to you to make the proper adjustments to change. If you can't necessarily change the situation you'll have to change the way you perceive them. Change your mind. Change your life. We are ultimately responsible for our own mind and what we allow in it. Therefore, we have to maintain control of the thoughts, feelings, emotions and actions we experience. This is probably one of the most important steps of renewing the mind. How are you to make the proper changes for the betterment of your life if you do not first accept some accountability? Awareness of the thoughts that are limiting you from reaching your full potential is key to renewing the mind and focus, with clarity, on the purpose God has for your life. Until next time...No matter what, KEEP IT MOVING!~MSKeepItMovin


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It's time to liberate ourselves and allow our minds to be Emotionally Emancipated from the lies that have sabotaged us subconsciously since before our births. It's time to dive HEADFIRST into the #StartSpeakingStopStigma movement. It's time we realize that "Black Mental Health Matters!!" 

Join me as I simultaneously broadcast LIVE right here on Facebook AND The MSKeepItMoving Radio Show June 26th at 8:30pm for Mental Health Mondays. I will share with you why the #StartSpeakingStopStigma movement has become so important to me. I'll share the challenges I face daily to become Emotionally Emancipated from my own fears and embrace who I know God has created me to be and I'll share with you the importance of promoting Mental Health Awareness and Education Mind, Body & Spirit. 

If you have questions you would like answered during the live show or if you would like to share your personal journey to become Emotionally Emancipated, please inbox me. You can also send your questions or share your personal journey via email at startspeakingstopstigma@gmail.com

No matter what, KEEP IT MOVING!

~MSKeepItMoving

K.I.M. 4U, Inc. 

#StartSpeakingStopStigma

via: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mskeepitmoving5/2017/06/27/startspeakingstopstigma-mental-health-monday


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Co-Parenting & Dating: Selfish or nah?

   

Life after a breakup can be a difficult for anyone experiencing it.  What if  children are involved?  It is not  surprising that making the transition easier for the children can be mental and emotionally draining. Co-parenting with an ex spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend takes a lot of patiences and understanding from both sides, especially when one or both parents decided to start new relationships.

Join Nakikia Walton, wednesday 05.31.2017 @ 8pm for another exciting episode of The MSKeepItMoving Show.  Listen in to find out what happens when Co-parenting goes bad, the implications on the lives of the children involved and why respect and communication are VITAL in Co-Parenting relationships. Don't miss this sizzlin hot topic.  

via: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mskeepitmoving5/2017/06/01/co-parenting-dating-selfish-or-na


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Memorial Day:The Forgotten

   

Memorial Day:The Forgotten

Greetingsto all,
Ihope you've all enjoyed this past Memorial Day Holiday and celebrated byremembering our fallen men and women soldiers who served this country. It'sbeen over 150 years since fallen soldiers of the American Civil War were firstrecognize. Three years prior to General John Logan's special order to observe"Decoration Day" on May 30, 1868, freed slaves had already taken it uponthemselves congregated in Charleston, South Carolina to commemorate the deathof Union Soldiers and the end of the American Civil War on May 1, 1865.  The first Memorial Day or Decoration Day, wasdesignated to spread flowers or "decorategraves of those who died in defense of their country during the rebellion andwhose bodies lay in almost every city, village and hamlet church yard in theland."

Thereis an important fact that has so conveniently been unrecognized by mainstreamWhite American. The most IMPORTANT but FORGOTTEN aspect of the Civil War is thatthe majority of the soldiers who'd paid with their lives did not die in COMBAT.  Many poor and marginalized Black soldierswere stricken with sicknesses and diseases with no known cures. The numberswere so massive the Civil War became known as the largest biological disasterin the 19th century. Former slaves didn't have the necessaryessentials to survive. Without the very basics like food, clothing and shelter,freed slaves were simply defenseless against diseases like smallpox as theywere unable to obtain the body's requirements to sustain a healthy immunesystem.
Rememberback in the day learning about the Civil War and seeing the pictures of theaftermath? I do. I remember seeing only WHITE faces and the bodies of White menwho lie dead on the battlefield. In White America, you see the expression of sorrowof the white lives lost and the passion demonstrated to commemorating their memories.Now, don't get me all twisted up here. I'm not suggesting that White people notbe remembered. But what I want to bring to the forefront of your mind is howmainstream media, the education system and White supremacy has dismissed therole of the freed African American Slaves who were Soldiers and lost theirlives in the Civil War as well.
Whilethe Whites reenact the Civil War each year to remember their ancestral white history,I think it's time to update the script. How about adding the scenes of formerslaves who met their ultimate demise during and after the war as a result ofsickness and disease and buried in a mass grave like freaking animal carcasses?While many us will continue to enjoy having Memorial Day off from our jobs,having cookouts with family and friends and honoring our fallen Veterans,please keep in mind, especially black folk, this holiday is not just toremember White Union soldiers who died, but also the freed slave soldiers whoSACRIFICED too, but also who's history has been left buried in the past.
Untilnext time... No matter what, KEEP IT MOVING!
~MSKeepItMoving 


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Many relatioships can last a few months, a few years or a life time without a serious commitment like that of a marriage. Their are many excuses for this phenonmenon, but how long is TOO long to be in a relationship with no signs of marriage in the future.  

Join me tonight at 8pm on The MSKeepItMoving Show for an indepth discussion with my special panel of guests, Latasha Alston and Destiny Gilchrist. You'll be surprised what you learn about their perceptions regarding relationships, commitment and marriage.  Participate for your chance to win a $20 gift card. 

To join the show dial (646)546-9711 or just click the link below. 

via: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mskeepitmoving5/2017/05/24/tying-the-knot-a-mental-health-perspectiv


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Mental Health Mondays

   

Multigenerational dehumanization by non black people since our African ancestors were initially enslaved here in the United States has always been the underline cause of black mental Health issues. 

There is evidence linking racism and adverse psychological outcomes such as high levels of anxiety, depression and other symptoms related to mental health issues in the black community. 

Join MSKeepItMoving tonight at 8pm for Mental Health Mondays edition of the Keep It Moving Show.  Learn why you could be affected by multigenerational mental health issues and why it is time to #StartSpeakingStopStigma 

via: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mskeepitmoving5/2017/05/23/mental-health-monday


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Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome; a Multigenerational Curse

Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome; a Multigenerational Curse

Greetings to all,

I'm hoping with every blog, video or podcast I share will ultimately leave my people with a clear understanding of why mental health promotion is important in our community. Promoting awareness and education in the black community about Mental Health issues has become a matter of life or death. Every year more than 40, 000 people die from suicide here in the United States of America. Although, the symptoms of mental illness can have different characteristics, the signs of mental distress are still there. I'm sure you've seen signs like, excessive anger, aggressive or hostile behaviors, chronic anxiety, or sudden changes in personality.

Multigenerational dehumanization by non-black people since our African ancestors were initially enslaved here in the United States has been the underline cause of black mental health issues. When the first of our African ancestors were brought over to America in 1619, there was a rapid change in status. For example, in 1640, two Europeans and one African, who were all Virginia slaves escaped, however they were captured and tried in court. At the end of the trials the Virginia court ordered the 2 European slaves to remain with their master for an additional year, but the African slave was ordered to remain with his master for the remainder of his life. Now all three of them committed the same "crime" right? I'm sure you all know this same type of BS is still going on in our judicial system.

Chattel slavery is a type of bondage where Africans who were enslaved were considered pieces of property. The name, Chattel was given because of the treatment of African slaves as property and hot commodities to be sold to the highest bidders. This system of slavery was initialized by Europeans thus forming the basis transatlantic slavery. According to the book "Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome" written by Dr. Joy DeGruy, black people have never healed from the wounds of slavery. Africans were forcefully separated from their families, forbidden to speak in their native tongue, practice their religion or play traditional music.

These kinds of horrific traumas provide insight as to the implications of slavery and why structural and institutional legacies of racism have impacted black mental health TODAY! Nevertheless, this knowledge has not encouraged conversations about slavery. Maybe it's because black people feel a sense of shame and embarrassment because of the degradations of slavery and the ancestry of white slave masters feelings of guilt about a system of ideals that have built a nation on the backs of black slaves. Just as the subject of slavery is swept under the carpet so is the state of mental health in the black community.

There is evidence linking racism and adverse psychological outcomes such as high levels of anxiety, depression and other symptoms related to mental health issues. Although, the numbers show that black people are more likely than white people to report feelings of sadness, hopelessness and worthlessness, there is still this attitude against addressing the impact of racism against black people relative to our mental health in this country. We can't afford to continue of this attitude of "Oh it doesn't affect me," or "Slavery was a long time ago and it's over now." If you are black in this country today, it does AFFECT YOU and YOUR CHILDREN. So get over yourselves. This type of attitude is hindering other black people from receiving the societal support needed to begin healing ourselves.

Believe it or not, RACISM is REAL and still EXISTS TODAY! It is affecting one way or another. The evidence of racism is all over every form of media there is. The daily attacks on black men, women and children by white people, especially those in authority, have become disturbingly epidemic. Yet, it doesn't seem to matter to people of society in America that these EVIL criminal acts are being allowed and justified. Yet, we're the ones considered "Dangerous Thugs" or "Hood rats." Can you say, "Domestic Terrorism?" This is why we are angry. This is why we are mad. There is extreme validity in our feelings and emotions of anger about how systemic injustice has negatively affected our lives. Dr. Joy DeGruy clearly describes our mental condition which also serves as the title of her book and the title of this article.

"Innocent and angry little boys threatened by a glance; proud parents reluctant to praise their children and feeling the need to inhibit their natural exploratory instincts; friends not being able to celebrate the successes of their peers; organizations torn asunder from within . . . and there's more. Parents feeling the need to protect their children from the police. Issues of skin color and hair texture continuing to dominate discussions regarding beauty and physical preference. The excessive focus on material accumulation. People needing, wanting and dreaming, yet fearing they will not succeed. Most of all frustration. Frustration and anger, at times even rage, feelings that seem to dominate many of our lives. If you're black and living in America, none of this may be news to you."

Black people have always been survivors and adapted their behaviors to continue their survival. Just think about it, we are still adapting and it is transgenerational adaptations related to the trauma endured during slavery and our continued oppression. Let's not only focus on white racist individually. There's always going to be a few bad apples in any bunch, right? What we need to focus on is the systemic racism. White people are taught not to SEE racism. You'll hear them say something stupid like, "I don't see color." Nevertheless they still promote racism against those of color. This process continues through lies, stereotypes and misinformation about people in the black community. However, the more black people advance in society the increase of white radicals displaying their displeasures of the threat to their social status even more evident.

There is research that shows proof that chronic exposure to stress hormones alters the expression of genes. There is a steroid hormone known as glucocorticoids that affects various areas of our body's systemically. Studies reveal that these glucocorticoids alter the genes that control the area of the brain that includes the hypothalamus and pituitary glands of the brain, and the adrenal glands located close to the kidneys. There is another gene, Fkbp5, that when modified leads to PTSD, depression and mood disorders.

In an interview with Atlanta Black Star, Dr. Farah D. Lubin who is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham said genetics is a matter of nature vs. nurture. "Nature is what you get from your parents, while nurture is how your environment shapes you as an individual." The doctor also stated an individual might have a predisposition to developing a certain mental health illnesses such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or suicide. (I'll discuss epigenetic factors of mental illness later.)

Racism should be understood not as a system of discrimination for a certain generation of black people but as an ugly curse passing from generation to generation affecting state of our mental health. Maybe we could start genuine conversations about the damages caused by racism and racial injustice. It's time to talk about real ways people in the black community can began to heal from the traumas that have led to us to "Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome."

Until next time...No matter what, KEEP IT MOVING!!

~MSKeepItMovin


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Black Mental Health in the Church

   

Black Mental Health in the Church

Greetingsto all, Mayis Mental Health Awareness month.  Ofcourse, I must increase my efforts to promote this topic, especially in theblack community. The ignorance has been on-going for far too long.Unfortunately, ignorance regarding the state of mental health in black familiesis NOT BLISS. The stigma and negative perceptions surrounding the topic ofmental health is evident and has played a major role in the decisions againsttraditional treatment and/or medication offered by medical professionals.Mostblack people misunderstand what mental health conditions are and often refuseto discuss this topic. Obviously, there is much to talk about, yet mentalhealth is still an avoided subject in many cases. This ignorance leads to manyblack people believing mental illness is a weakness and a sign that God ispunishing people them because they have mental health issues. Of course, thisis NOT TRUE. Nevertheless, people in the black community are still reluctant todiscuss mental health because of the fear of being shamed and labelled as"CRAZY."It'salways recommended to seek professional help when experiencing a mental healthcrisis to be evaluated and assessed for proper treatment and/ormedication.  More times than not,cultural backgrounds play a significant role in the lives of black people andother minorities. Values and beliefs have a great impact on the decisions madeabout certain healthcare services, especially services for mental health. It'snot surprising that there is a lack of cultural competence in mental health.This lack of understanding often leads to incorrect diagnosis and inadequatetreatment.  Unfortunately, black peopleand other minority cultures are on the receiving end of poor quality of care.

Asa mental health awareness and education advocate for the black community and aperson who receives mental health treatment and medication, I prefer to see andI always recommend seeing a black mental health provider. I believe thecultural significance is key and highly important for receiving propertreatment.  However, historically, blackpeople have always relied on faith, family and our social circles for emotionalsupport for what could be symptoms of mental health problems.  Nowthe truth is faith, can surely help you through as you recover.  Having a spiritual connection to God willhelp you keep you encouraged and give you strength during the treatmentprocess. Yes, your church leaders and church family can provide you with support,but you shouldn't depend only on this as a treatment option.  You really must be careful. Sometimes churchcommunities are misinformed and can end up being a source of the stigmasurrounding mental health. Thereare many leaders of the black church who live in silence themselves. Pastors,Deacons, Ushers, Choir members and other members are experiencing mental healthproblems while supposedly learning and/or teaching the word. It's sad that somany misconceptions regarding mental illness in the black community have causedso many to question their faith in God. It only reinforces the stigmas. Ifirmly believe that the word of God cannot be taught effectively if thepreachers, ministry leaders, and members are NOT MENTALLY and SPIRITUALLY HEALTHY.I'mnot saying not to utilize the church as a support system, but it is importantto understand people who struggle with mental illness can't be told the samething over and over. It's just insanity when the advice you're offering is notworking or can't work alone without proper treatment.  Mental illness needs to be treated effectivelyand not passively.  Church leaders shouldnot tell their members to "Just lean on the Lord baby" or "Pray and give it toGod my child." I believe in the power of prayer. I also believe the scriptureJames 2:14-17.            Whatdoes it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not haveworks? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute ofdaily food, and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed andfilled, "but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body,what does it profit? Thus, also faith by itself, if it does not have works, isdead.Untilnext time...No matter what, Keep It Moving!#StartSpeakingStopStigma~MSKeepItMovin


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Black Mental Health Matters

   

Black Mental Health Matters

Greetings to all,

The mother of a 24 year old black male stopped by my desk this morning looking for him. She wanted to make sure he was able to find the office he was supposed to have his appointment. I the status of the Veteran for her and advised he'd indeed made it here and was currently with his provider. The mother said, "Good. My baby is suffering from PTSD. He's been closed up in his room not wanting to be around anyone. I wasn't going to tell me about what was going on with him. I had to make him come to his appointment because he's got me so worried about him." I let her know, he was in good hands now. Hopefully, he'll be able to work through his symptoms of PTSD with the provider and leave here feeling brand new. I advised her she did a good thing for him because Black Mental Health Matters. Later, as she walked out the clinic the mother asked, "Will you please pray for him?" I said I would do so, but It made me think about other people in the Black community ask for Prayer rather than seek treatment to sort through issues of mental health.

Let's discuss some facts regarding Mental state of the Black community. We only make up 12% of the national population, but we account for 25% of the mental health needs in the United States. What's unfortunate is this number is probably much higher. The negative attitudes and perceptions regarding mental health in the Black community play a huge role in why many of us never receive the treatment we need. We rely heavily on our Church organizations to help us get through our issues, rather than seeking professional help. We are quick to say, "I'll just pray about it" or "I don't want anyone in my business." (Later will discuss the role of the Church regarding Mental Health Promotion to the Black community.)

It's amazing how we sometimes see things eyes wide shut. We don't mind telling people, "Oh I'm diabetic" or "I have heart disease" but when it comes to Mental health issues, we want to sweep it under the carpet. No one chooses to be diagnosed with any chronic illness, so it would make sense to think you wouldn't choose to have a mental illness either right? I mean, come on family. When will we learn? Mental illnesses are conditions due to chemical imbalances in the brain that affect how a person copes with stressful situations. Mental health issues are NOT signs of WEAKNESS and if anyone is telling you anything differently is OBVIOUSLY struggling mentally themselves.

Not only have the stigmas and negative perceptions associated with mental health created a huge void in the Black community, but the healthcare system isn't helping much either. There is a lack of knowledge regarding mental health conditions and how they present themselves, problems with access to medical care, financial challenges for affording treatment or medication, mistrust in the healthcare system and more importantly the SEVERE deficiency of Black psychologist and psychiatrist in the mental health field.

Listen, Black folk are no different when it comes to the prevalence of mental illness, HOWEVER, our concerns, experiences and how we perceive things may be. We all experience ups and downs as a result of certain situations in our lives, but we have to understand mental health conditions go far beyond ups and downs or emotional reactions. Mental illness is a medical condition that needs to be addressed. If not treated they most definitely will worsen over time. Anybody can develop a mental health condition, but we experience more severe forms of symptoms due to social and economic barriers and macroaggressions. We are more commonly diagnosed with Major Depression, ADHD, Suicide(among young Black men) and PSTD because we are more likely to be victims of violent crimes.

We've got to do more when it comes to promoting Mental Health Awareness and Education in the Black community. At the present, I am working on a campaign to help promote Mental Health Awareness and Education in our communities, called #StartSpeakingStopStigma. As a Black woman who lives with mental health issues, I know how important it is to seek treatment. After having a severe Panic Attack on the highway with my children in the car with me, I knew it was time to get some help. I mean I was in the middle of the freaking Highway with my babies in the back seat y'all. WHHHEEEWWWW. I knew my coping skills had been decreasing especially the older I became. I became more anxious after having children. Everything made me nervous and I would breakout into a sweat. I've sense been diagnosed with Panic Attack Disorder, Anxiety, PTSD and ADD. Good grief, I guess to ignorant people I would appear crazy huh? Yah Mama!!! LOLOL

Here's the thing, I know many of us are reluctant to discuss mental health issues we experience or seek treatment but this has to stop. We have to do better with addressing and treating mental illness in our community. It is dangers to have limited and inaccurate information about mental illness. It is extremely important that we approach providing education to our communities on multiple levels. We have to work to stop the stigma affecting the normalization of mental health. We also have to create environments that are safe for us to express our thoughts, feelings, and our fears about mental illness. (Emotional Emancipation Support Group in Durham, NC soon.)

It is a matter of life and death these days, especially when it comes to our encounters with law enforcement. Police officers have not been trained or equipped with how to handle people with mental illness. Unfortunately, Police behaviors often make matters worse rather than de-escalate what could be symptoms of mental health issues. Many people believe that people with mental illness are violent and this is not TRUE, and this is part of the stigma that creates apprehension to seek treatment. And guess what, more times than not, people with mental illness who encounter law enforcement go to jail or become imprisoned.

Black mental health matters. Please help me promote Mental Health Awareness and Education by supporting #StartSpeakingStopStigma in the Black Community. If you would like to donate to help obtain education materials and promotion of this campaign please contact me via email at StartSpeakingStopStigma@gmail.com. You can text or call (919)964-0546. Find us also on FACEBOOK under the group name #StartSpeakingStopStigma

Until next time... No matter what, KEEP IT MOVING!

#StartSpeakingStopStigma

~MSKeepItMovin


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